Business Travel 101: Looking Good When You Get To Your Destination (Revisited)

Business Travel 101 is a series from a couple of years ago about making that first business trip as easy and successful as possible. I’ve re-tooled the series, and now it’s more comprehensive than ever! It covers everything a new business traveler needs to know for that initial trip, including essential tips for packing, security, safety, etiquette, and comfort.

Travel is part of the job for many of us, and heading to the office directly from the airport is often an unfortunate necessity. Even though you may feel exhausted and travel-weary, it is possible to avoid the travel-worn look that is the hallmark of many road warriors. Tricks abound for both short and long flights. Obviously, for a red-eye or other long flight the strategy is a little more intense. But don’t worry! No one has to know you got up at 4am or that you commuted six hours for your meeting.

For all flights:

  • Wear comfortable, wrinkle resistant clothes. The easiest way to look good during and after travel: clothes that don’t wrinkle.  Nothing says, “I just got off a plane,” like a crumpled shirt and creased skirt.  There are plenty of wrinkle-resistant, non-iron clothes out there, like this Foxcroft fitted shirt from Nordstrom. Trust me, this is not the time to wear your new linen suit, no matter how cute and professional it is. I also highly recommend flats (like these adorable CK Jeans Women’s Tiffany Ballet Flat).
  • Stay hydrated. This is important for comfort, health, and looking good. Drink at least 8 oz of water for every hour you are flying. This will keep you from getting dehydrated, which in turn keeps you feeling more alert and prevents your skin from feeling like sandpaper.
  • Freshen up upon arrival. Once you land, head to the ladies’ room to repair any damage that may have occurred to hair or makeup during the flight.

For longer flights:

  • Put your hair back. If you have long hair, keep your hair in a low ponytail. This keeps your hair controlled, gets it out of your way, and minimizes the crimp that can happen when you have a higher ponytail. It also allows you to comfortably rest your head against the seat. Another good option is a braid.
  • Moisturize!! Use lip balm and hand lotion often.  There are also great face sprays that you can use to keep your skin hydrated. I like the Juice Beauty Hydrating Mist.
  • Get some rest. Use an eye mask and earplugs if necessary, or even a Tylenol PM, so that you wake up feeling (and looking) refreshed.
  • Avoid mascara. This doesn’t work for everyone, but if you feel comfortable going without mascara for the flight I highly recommend it. It’s an easy way to avoid the raccoon look on a red-eye. Or, you can…..
  • Do your morning routine. Wash your face, brush your teeth, brush your hair, and refresh your makeup before landing. Once you wake up, nothing feels better or more eye-opening than washing your face. It helps get rid of the travel grime, and gives you a fresh canvas for applying makeup. I like to use face cleansing pads like these from The Body Shop. For brushing your teeth, you can use your normal toothbrush or one of those new disposable ones (like these Wisp Optic White disposable toothbrushes). Finally, going through an airplane friendly (possibly slightly abbreviated) makeup routine will make you look your best and feel ready to take on the world, and hide the fact that you slept on a 757.
  • If that’s not an option….. If you’re flying in Economy and you don’t think you can get a few minutes in the lav to freshen up, use the face cleansing pads at your seat. You can chew gum to make your mouth feel fresh, and probably even apply minimal makeup.
  • Put on fresh clothes. Some people like to wear something very comfortable for sleeping on the plane, and then change into their business outfit for the day immediately before arriving. It’s definitely one way to avoid the wrinkles you get when sleeping in your clothes, but may not be feasible for everyone.

Readers, what are your best suggestions for looking professional when you arrive at your destination?

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